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dak4n6

Son's demeanor going downhill

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Actually, he's my step-son. He is 16, started golfing about 2.5 yrs ago, after about 1.5 yrs he made the high school team as a sophmore, but only played a couple matches cause there were too many good seniors, but he held his own. He shoots 85 - 95 on our home course. He has always had a pretty decent attitude given the difficulty of this game, but lately, about the last 6 months or so, his on-course demeanor and attitude have really gone downhill. In the past he would get exasperated at bad shots, but now he just gets totally demoralized and pouts and sulks. Sometimes he will be having a decent round and just one bad hole will put him into the funk. A few weeks ago, he was hitting great and carded a 40 front 9, was rolling along until about 4 holes into the back 9, then he got a 6 on a hard par 3, and the wheels totally came off. He stopped even trying, just trudging up to the ball and half-heartedly swiping at it, not lining up putts, etc. I try to boost him up and tell him he's not really playing that badly, that he needs to fight through it, etc, but nothing seems to work.

This has been happening almost every time out for a while now, and it is really holding up his progress. Plus, he drags my attitude down with him and I usually don't play well, and it is embarassing when we play with others. Just wanted to see if anyone else has had this experience with their kid(s), and if anyone has any advice or feedback. Help!!!

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He might just be tired of playing. Let him take some time off. My son played, and lost interest whem he started playing guitar. I wish he would play, but now he has other things he would rather do.

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Strange thing is, he usually asks me if we can go play. And if I ask him, it's always an open question, never a requirment..

Maybe I should make him lay off for a while?

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Originally Posted by zipazoid

Toss him a football.

???

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Originally Posted by dak4n6

???

Try another sport...that's what I meant. Get his focus off of golf all the time.

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It's time for the talk.

Or Better Yet -- VIDEO him -- and hope he will be sufficiently embarrassed.

Do you think that behavior helps you on the course?

What happens afterwards on the course when you do that?

And then he needs the Zen talk - you have 20 seconds to think about what occurred on the shot, and then you forget that shot. It's not real any longer. It's in the past. The next shot is the only one that matters...

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Originally Posted by zipazoid

Try another sport...that's what I meant. Get his focus off of golf all the time.

He was in baseball for 5 yrs before golf, and he dropped it when he found golf (he was never more than just mediocre in Bball) because he had a natural swing and started out of the gates pretty fast. And we do other things - kayak and fish, bike ride, although it has been kind of hardcore on G ever since we joined a CC last year.

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A teenager having moodswings is no surprise, it's a symptom of going through puberty. Do you notice this behavior anywhere else but on a golf course? Getting a kid with limited life experience to see the bigger picture is a result of a growing process. Since he started with a good natural swing he is going to need to learn to dig deeper and work through the emotional aspect of the game. Even as an adult I'll suddenly "wake up" on a hole and realize that I lost my focus for the last couple of holes. Each time he plays he's building an experience base that will allow him to forget these bad shots and holes in the future.

I'm glad to hear that you are out on the course with him at this age. You will get to look back with fondness at this time together, even if he gets petulant sometimes I'm sure that there are good times going on. Chat about other stuff on the course...talk about life, friends, girls...whatever, as long as it isn't golf. Enjoy his company while you can, this is a very short period of time in both of your lives.

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Originally Posted by dak4n6

Strange thing is, he usually asks me if we can go play.

If he's asking you to play, he definitely wants to be out on the course.  I sometimes deal with this with my 10yr old son at the bowling alley.   He loves to bowl and is responsible for getting me started with bowling...LOL

He can get really pouty/cranky and start misbehaving after a couple of bad games.  When he does....I tell him that he had better fix his attitude, or he's done for the day.  (I won't stand for it)......or sometimes I will make him sit out for a game or 2 until he gets himself "right" between the ears.   A "time-out" usually does the trick.   If not, he's done for the day.   We usually bowl for 3-4hrs twice a week, and rarely does it come down to quitting early.

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Originally Posted by dak4n6

Actually, he's my step-son. He is 16, started golfing about 2.5 yrs ago, after about 1.5 yrs he made the high school team as a sophmore, but only played a couple matches cause there were too many good seniors, but he held his own. He shoots 85 - 95 on our home course. He has always had a pretty decent attitude given the difficulty of this game, but lately, about the last 6 months or so, his on-course demeanor and attitude have really gone downhill. In the past he would get exasperated at bad shots, but now he just gets totally demoralized and pouts and sulks. Sometimes he will be having a decent round and just one bad hole will put him into the funk. A few weeks ago, he was hitting great and carded a 40 front 9, was rolling along until about 4 holes into the back 9, then he got a 6 on a hard par 3, and the wheels totally came off. He stopped even trying, just trudging up to the ball and half-heartedly swiping at it, not lining up putts, etc. I try to boost him up and tell him he's not really playing that badly, that he needs to fight through it, etc, but nothing seems to work.

This has been happening almost every time out for a while now, and it is really holding up his progress. Plus, he drags my attitude down with him and I usually don't play well, and it is embarassing when we play with others. Just wanted to see if anyone else has had this experience with their kid(s), and if anyone has any advice or feedback. Help!!!

Get him lessons.

He'll see himself improve and maybe a coach can work with him to control his attitude. Golf sucks when you make an initial improvement and then get stuck in the same rut for a long period of time!

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He stopped even trying, just trudging up to the ball and half-heartedly swiping at it, not lining up putts, etc. I try to boost him up and tell him he's not really playing that badly, that he needs to fight through it, etc, but nothing seems to work. This has been happening almost every time out for a while now, and it is really holding up his progress. Plus, he drags my attitude down with him and I usually don't play well, and it is embarassing when we play with others. Just wanted to see if anyone else has had this experience with their kid(s), and if anyone has any advice or feedback. Help!!!

I know that I always hate it when people tell me I'm doing well when I know I'm not. Maybe try self-deprication?

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Originally Posted by jamo

I know that I always hate it when people tell me I'm doing well when I know I'm not.

This is a bit off topic, but I really hate it when people say to me........ "nice shot" when I know that it isn't!

Rant off......Hehe

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I was the same way at that age but maybe not as consistently as your step son and I agree with Jamo about hearing say I'm doing well when I'm not. I got in a real funk one time and my dad actually made me stop playing for a week so I spent the week hanging out with friends and came back much better. My problem was I was just starting to break into the 70s and thought once I did it one it I should be there every time I tee'd it up. I was way to inconsistent at that point to shoot in 70s every time but it was frustrating to go out and shoot 78 followed with an 85 but once I got over the hump I calmed down again. I guess at that age you don't worry about other things as much as an adult so you sometimes take the game way to seriously instead of just enjoying it.

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Originally Posted by dak4n6

He was in baseball for 5 yrs before golf, and he dropped it when he found golf (he was never more than just mediocre in Bball) because he had a natural swing and started out of the gates pretty fast. And we do other things - kayak and fish, bike ride, although it has been kind of hardcore on G ever since we joined a CC last year.

FWIW, I had a horrible temper when I was 16, and I was playing a lot of golf with my dad at the time. I was about a 10 hc at the time, so similar in ability as your son. I had zero tolerance for anything less than perfection out of me, and that intolerance manifested itself in broken clubs.

I remember one round in particular. I had a bunker shot, left in in the bunker. Took another swing, stayed in the bunker. I then one-hand slap-skulled it...right at my dad's head, and flung the club in anger for style points. My dad walked over to the cart, unstrapped my bag, handed it to me, and said "You're done, and you're walking in."

Point is, he's 16. Like another poster said, that's a tough age. Hormones are a bitch.

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It could be puberty it could also be an attitude he and many kids have picked up from playing video games.  Video games stress the importance of high scores.  Kids set out to beat their previous score and as soon as something goes wrong during the game, they reset it and start over, which isn't practical on the golf course.  Your son may be striving to improve on his best score and as soon as that's out of reach it's not interesting for him to play any more.

I'd suggest some in round games that will keep his interest such as total number of pars or birdies, or maybe count the front 9 and back 9 as separate games that he can track.  I get demoralized when a blow up hole ruins my chance at a new low score, but I'm old enough to know there's still a benefit from playing through the rest of the round.

You know him best so I'd suggest anything creative you can come up with that will keep his attention once the quest to post a low high score isn't possible.,

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It very well could be puberty. Testosterone comes on so strong at that age you're a complete mess. It's been about 20 years for me but I can still remember what a roller coaster of anger and skirt chasing I was then. I couldn't complete a thought for probably 3 years hahahaha.

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It's normal, IMO.  He is testing and measuring you, as the dad, (chief male figure) and what that role in life means to him.  He, like all kids that age, is completely taken with finding out who he is and a big part of that is learning how to relate to others in his life. Parents, siblings, peers, girls, teachers, authorities...etc, all are changing rapidly according to his viewpoint of the world on that day. What can anyone say to help you except that you must also try to view him as a new person each day and especially avoid critical and negative comments which are never helpful.  He may indeed not like his own behaviour on the course.  If you were playing golf with your own friends, no kids, would you tell someone to 'cheer up', keep your head down, focus on the next shot and otherwise get in their face without an invitation?  Just accept the boy of the day, good shots and bad.

Let me relate my first golf outing.  My dad and his bro-in-law and me. I knew nothing, this before TV. First tee and dad tees it up and hits it out. Uncle does the same. I run after and find dad's ball and tee it up for him.  He comes up and calls a blockhead ******* for touching the ball.  I was 7 yrs old.  Think that hurt me?  Yes, it surely did and for a long, long time.

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